December 4th, 2008
12:00 PM ET
12 years ago

National Mall to be open for Obama inauguration

[cnn-photo-caption image= caption="The National Mall, above, will be open on Inauguration Day."]WASHINGTON (CNN) - The Presidential Inaugural Committee announced Thursday that the entire length of the National Mall will be open on Inauguration Day — the first time in history that expanse has been open to the public.

With anywhere from one to four million visitors expected to descend on the nation’s capital to view President-elect Barack Obama’s swearing in, authorities have wrestled with the task of finding enough viewing space. Just 240,000 tickets were expected to be issued for the event.

The National Mall, which has traditionally been a staging ground for the inaugural parade, can hold an estimated one million. The parade staging area has been moved elsewhere.

Space is still limited on Capitol grounds, site of the actual swearing in - Mall spectators will be able to view the proceedings on large TV screens set up by the PIC.

The PIC, which said further details would be released soon, did not say how admission to the Mall would be handled. Those hoping to camp out early to get a prime viewing spot are out of luck — the Secret Service has said they will need the Mall clear early on the morning of the inauguration in order to do a security sweep.

Filed under: Inauguration
soundoff (92 Responses)
  1. obama-mama

    Aww George. What man doesn't have an ego. I know you sure wish you had one. He's confident unlike yourself. Maybe when you grow up you will be confident too.

    December 4, 2008 02:27 pm at 2:27 pm |
  2. DC Resident

    You know, this is going to be an amazing event and a great day in American history. Unfortunately, when you live in DC the tourists are bad enough, but now Im not going to be able to go anywhere NEAR downtown. Plus I have all these random people whom I havent spoken to in forever trying to stay at my house for the inaugaration. Seriously, tourists, PLEASE behave yourselves, and enjoy being part of history, and just maybe you could be considerate to the residents that have to endure this. Just a reminder I guess.

    December 4, 2008 02:27 pm at 2:27 pm |
  3. Maggie in NYS

    I can't imagine 1 to 4 million people packed into that small area. But I am looking foward to watching the event on TV!!!

    December 4, 2008 02:39 pm at 2:39 pm |
  4. Azellia Keys Cleveland, Oh

    On this day things will change and im so glad to be able to see it .I would love to be there to feel the great feeling as a new leader take the seat ,we have been messed up for so long change is going to be GOOD!!!!!! GOD BLESS OUR NEW PRESIDENT !

    December 4, 2008 02:42 pm at 2:42 pm |
  5. GOP=Epic Fail

    To empty suit, empty promises..

    the message i'm getting is that it's going to be a big time party atmosphere, and with all the hotels booked, and people can't camp out on the mall...the bars will see high volume until the wee hours of the morning.

    It also helps out the local economy keeping the bars open longer.

    so quit drinking the hateraid

    December 4, 2008 02:49 pm at 2:49 pm |
  6. Daniel

    'Empty Suit', at no point during your rambling response did you approach anything that could be considered a rational thought. I award you no points, and may god have mercy on your soul.

    Seriously, trying to comprehend where you were going with that post gave me a headache. To be fair, I'm a DC resident and the ideas of bars staying open until 5-6 unnerves me. We already have enough drunken idiocy to go around, I'm not sure keeping the bars open will prove to be a good idea...

    December 4, 2008 02:53 pm at 2:53 pm |
  7. HouseDiva

    I wish that i could be there, but i'll settle for watching the coverage on CNN with my family and friends.

    we are going to party!!!

    December 4, 2008 02:54 pm at 2:54 pm |
  8. Michael

    It is beyond me why anyone would waste a penny in this economy to go see 'The ONE'. Must be a lot more people doing well than Obama said there was in his campaign.
    A year from now, you won't find 100 people who will admit they went to see this loser.

    December 4, 2008 02:54 pm at 2:54 pm |
  9. HouseDiva

    To empty suit, empty promises...

    quit drinking the hateraid

    December 4, 2008 02:57 pm at 2:57 pm |
  10. Andrew

    As a DC resident, I am looking forward to the event and know that this will be great for our city's economy. I don't see why people are complaining about how "much" should be spent celebrating the inauguration. Not only is it an historical event but it is NOT taxpayer money, it's not like hes taking a cruise to Thailand or something. They are spending the money in America, and you guessed it, that creates American jobs.

    December 4, 2008 02:59 pm at 2:59 pm |
  11. RLE

    bi-racial please the man is black; up until Obama's election we (bi-racial) have been called blacked now that Obama is president he is suddenly bi-racial; check out the census there is no race bi-racial it is black; also wasn't it white America who made the law if you have 1 oz of black blood you are considered black; so please don't try and rain on our parade...

    December 4, 2008 03:00 pm at 3:00 pm |
  12. anonymous in Big D

    Personally, this is a big waste of time and money. For crying out loud, its just another black family moving into government housing.

    December 4, 2008 03:00 pm at 3:00 pm |
  13. Andrew

    To those implying that DC is making special rules just for the inauguration, they are most likely doing it because of what will surely be pent up demand by tourists, after begging and pleas by the service industry which has been hard hit by this economic downturn.

    December 4, 2008 03:01 pm at 3:01 pm |
  14. President Barack Obama

    To You folks that CANNOT come to terms that you have a BLACK PRESIDENT....I'm sorry to burst your bubble but you do & you will for the next eight years. Yes, his mother was caucasian & his father was BLACK but guess what..... That makes him a BLACK MAN. If he was an athlete in some sort of legal trouble you all would consider him Black ...but since he's POTUS he Bi Racial now..... Wow, interesting. Some of you bloggers are just plain PLAIN OLD RIDICULOUS. How do you live with yourselves. You will learn to LOVE your POTUS... Barack HUSSEIN Obama the 1st & CERTAINLY WONT BE LAST BLACK PRESIDENT. LIKE RICK JAMES WOULD SAY " IT'S A CELEBRATION B-–'S"

    December 4, 2008 03:04 pm at 3:04 pm |
  15. Tami Williams

    I will be home watching this historical event on tv. Even if I lived in DC I still would not go, because of all of the traffic and so many people being there. I will be able to sit, be warm, and see everything on the channel I will be watching, I just hope that whichever news channel that I am watching the hosts will keep quiet and not analyze every detail, and hope that there are no commercials...

    I am truly excited that Barack Obama is our President. Our Country needed Change and Change as Come. Thank God.

    God Bless Barack Obama, his Family, and the United States...

    December 4, 2008 03:12 pm at 3:12 pm |
  16. Timmay

    I hope the staff of fox news will be watching. So they can see that there lies did not work.

    December 4, 2008 03:17 pm at 3:17 pm |




    December 4, 2008 03:32 pm at 3:32 pm |
  18. Val, Atlanta, Ga

    I am so GLAD I am not a republican because I could not have that much HATE in my heart for anyone and then claim to be a christian, Thats amazing

    December 4, 2008 03:39 pm at 3:39 pm |
  19. Lissa

    Bitterness isn't attractive. Obama's election has brought out the ugly in so many sour-grape eaters.

    I, too, will watch on TV – even if I lived in the area, I'd be able to see a lot more that way. True, the atmosphere will be exciting but I'll feel it nonetheless.

    What an incredible event – for an incredible man.

    And for those saying this is ego? This is a celebration of, and for those who WANT change and aren't afraid of differences. That – in and of itself – deserves a huge shindig!

    December 4, 2008 03:39 pm at 3:39 pm |
  20. Nanochristmas love

    Thank GOD for Barack Obama. I know people make fun saying things like he's our "saviour" and "messiah" and all that, but seriously I think Mr. Obama is really going to fix everything. He has really good plans for all our problems as a nation, and I believe in him! I wonder if he's going to be able to pay off my mortgage!?!? How cool would THAT be??

    He really is our saviour, make fun all you want, but he is and thank god for him.

    December 4, 2008 03:40 pm at 3:40 pm |
  21. Empty suit, empty promises


    Today, even his supporters at The New York Times acknowledged that Obama has no intention of withdrawing all troops immediately from Iraq:

    On the campaign trail, Senator Barack Obama offered a pledge that electrified and motivated his liberal base, vowing to “end the war” in Iraq.

    But as he moves closer to the White House, President-elect Obama is making clearer than ever that tens of thousands of American troops will be left behind in Iraq, even if he can make good on his campaign promise to pull all combat forces out within 16 months.

    “I said that I would remove our combat troops from Iraq in 16 months, with the understanding that it might be necessary — likely to be necessary — to maintain a residual force to provide potential training, logistical support, to protect our civilians in Iraq,” Mr. Obama said this week as he introduced his national security team.

    December 4, 2008 03:40 pm at 3:40 pm |
  22. Hey Obama Show...

    Please disengage your caps lock. Thanks.

    December 4, 2008 03:46 pm at 3:46 pm |
  23. obama-mama

    WELCOME TO THE OBAMA SHOW – Maybe next time you will do some research instead of putting a complete idiot in office for 8 yrs...You should go straight to hell with GW Bush.

    December 4, 2008 03:52 pm at 3:52 pm |
  24. Proud Democrat

    What a waste of money!!!

    Doesn't anyone get it? We are in the middle of the worst economic crisis with millions of people losing their homes, companies shutting down and people losing their jobs.


    That money could be used to help those that are really struggling.

    Why not show us that you understand what's going on and stop spending money on this HUGE PARTY while the rest of us are starving and homeless.

    December 4, 2008 03:56 pm at 3:56 pm |
  25. Karen - Missouri

    I think it's fantastic that so many want to "be there" for Obama...for a presidential inauguration. Not one reserved for the wealthy who can afford to get there...but for anyone who fully supports this new presidency.

    It's great!

    December 4, 2008 03:59 pm at 3:59 pm |
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